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MAG Beta Impressions on Game and Player

MAG Beta Impressions

Joseph G. Powell  //  September 14, 2009

I'm likely buying the full version.


t was a typical day on the internet, everything and nothing happening at the same time. A new e-mail notification popped up on my Gmail account — the one linked to my Playstation Network account &38212; and I almost couldn't believe what I'd seen. I went into my account and sure enough, there it was: "You are invited to register for the MAG Beta." I'd never been part of a closed beta test for anything, let alone one of PS3's most anticipated exclusive upcoming games, so you can imagine my excitement.

I clicked the link in the e-mail and registered as quickly as I could. Now all I could do was wait to see if I would get in. A short two days later, I received the next e-mail telling me I had been selected to join the war! I entered my beta code and started the download. The initial download seemed awfully small, I was a little concerned, but once it loaded it started an installer which downloaded the full 2-plus gigabytes of game files. I wasn't too happy with this because the downloader wouldn't run in the background — so I couldn't play any other PS3 games while I waited. No big loss, it gave me ample time to brag about getting into the beta to my friends and social networks.

Two-phase missions: eventually,
opposing forces converge.
Two grueling hours later the game files had finally downloaded and installed. I could hardly contain myself. I was ready to try the biggest multiplayer FPS to ever grace a console system. But then I got a message saying the server was unavailable. (Cue this.) I found out the server was only available at certain times of the day. My enthusiasm started to wane . . . only to return in full force several days later when I had the chance to play again and the server was up.

First things first: character creation. It's very limited, at least in the beta. Not much can be done aside from a few simple changes to appearance. No big deal, considering the last thing I'd be thinking about when gunning down an adversary would be how awesome my character's handlebar mustache was.

After character creation I was brought to the game mode selection screen. Only two modes were available: one where players had to protect or overtake data centers and one where players had to defend or capture vehicles, depending which side you were on. I joined up in the queue and waited several minutes for the game to start. The first thing I noticed was there were only 32 players for each side during the beta. I was a bit disappointed I wouldn't get to feel the thrill of a full-on, 256-player match just yet.

Each faction's players were split up into 8-man squadrons which would eventually converge during the final section of the match. Each match in the beta was split into two main parts. First, a series of objectives had to be met (such as capturing two enemy vehicles) and after that a final objective had to be met. I was able to play two matches that night before the servers were turned off and I had a lot of fun despite my very poor performance.

Customization: facial hair
enthusiasts, rejoice.
I had tried out a few different weapon combinations, but I ended up settling with the sniper rifle as my main weapon. Overall the weapons all felt pretty well-done, but not entirely realistic. The sniper rifle had good recoil and shake to it, making it pretty intense as I was zoomed in trying to pick off enemies at a distance. At the end of each match players were rewarded with experience points depending on a number of factors. With each experience level a player was rewarded a point to spend on weapon upgrades, including faster reload times and better handling.

Some may be concerned with such a large-scale game there'd be a lot of lag. There is a lot happening on the screen at any given time, but at least during the beta lag was unnoticeable. The only thing that ever lagged for me during any of the games I played was my weapon, showing up in my hands directly after spawning.

So far my impression of the game is very positive. Although I've only gotten to play a total of four matches so far, I'm definitely looking forward to playing more and likely buying the full version. Public beta will be opening on September 17. Anybody who subscribes to Qore or preorders the retail version at GameStop stores will receive a beta code. I'm hoping my key for the private beta carries over into the public beta because I've barely scratched the surface and I would definitely love to play more.

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